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tv   Countdown With Keith Olbermann  MSNBC  January 3, 2011 8:00pm-9:00pm EST

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chance they won in 2010 to reclaim their opportunity to be part of the national leadership. something they blew in 2006 and 2008 with a war in iraq and the underwriting of their systemic failure to control the greed of certain elements on wall street. wow. that's "hardball" for now. thanks for being with us. "countdown" with keith olbermann starts right now. which of these stories will you be talking about tomorrow? oh, here we go. >> we are not looking to shut the government down. we're not looking at wanting to continually raise the debt ceiling. >> i don't know what you call it, michele, but that's shutting down the government. >> dancing on the debt ceiling demanding pay as you go for spending but not for tax breaks for the rich. and the crowning of paul ryan as
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the republican house budget czar. the economy, the gop versus common sense. let the party begin. with congressman anthony weiner and ezra klein. the ice man cometh. the gop's witch hunter in chief mr. issa goes obama hunting. >> he has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times. this is one of the most corrupt administrations which is what i meant to say there. >> he wants to investigate why the administration blamed wall street for the economic meltdown, not poor people. climate change change. as the greenhouse gas regulations go into effect, suddenly all of the would be gop presidents have stopped saying anything that even remotely sounds like this. >> i believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. >> our country must take action to address climate change.
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>> and how there was a study into the differences between brai brains. >> john dean already examined the behavioral studies and now will look at the pictures of conservative brains if any. all the news and commentary now on "countdown." ♪ if i only had a brain good evening from new york. happy new year. this is monday, january 3rd, 673 days until the 2012 presidential election and approximately three months until a showdown in congress that could tank the world economy in a way that would make 2008 look like a quick dance in the spring rain. tonight's fifth story, the game of chicken, accelerating this week toward the start wednesday of the 112th congress. on one side the global economy. on the other side social
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security for generations of americans yet to come. sometime around the end of winter, february, march, the u.s. debt will hit $14.3 trillion. when that happens congress will have to authorize a higher debt so the u.s. can borrow more to keep paying its bills. some of those bills include interest payments on our past borrowing. currently, historically, investors have considered american debt the safest investment there is so if congress fails to authorize a higher debt the u.s. will default on its payments. the world's safest investment will go kaboom and that will suck the world economy down a black hole. that is what the new republican congress is threatening to do. if you think that description sounds like hyperbole, here is the chairman of the president's council of economic advisers saying pretty much the same thing. >> if we hit the debt ceiling, that's the essentially defaulting on our obligations, which is totally unprecedented in american history, the impact on the economy would be
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catastrophic. i mean, that would be a worse financial and economic crisis than anything we saw in 2008. as i say, that's not a game. i don't see why anybody's talking about playing chicken with the debt ceiling. if we get to the point where you've damaged the full faith and credit of the united states, that would be the first default in history caused purely by insanity. >> except of course it's not insanity to threaten something insane if you know it will get you what you want. on "face the nation" yesterday republican tea party favorite michele bachmann simply denied that no longer borrowing money to keep the government running would stop the government from running let alone blow up the global economy but on "meet the press" formerly main stream republican senator lindsay graham acknowledged quite openly that failing to raise the debt ceiling would be, quote, very bad for the position of the united states but he is willing to shoot this country unless it
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hands over you guessed it your social security. >> to not raise the debt ceiling could be a default of the united states on bond and treasury obligations. that would be very bad for the position of the united states in the world at large but this is an opportunity to make sure the government is changing its spending ways. i will not vote for the debt ceiling increase until i see a plan in place that will deal with our long-term debt obligations starting with social security. >> tonight house republicans announced the vote next wednesday on repeal of health care reform to save money, they say, and they're posting their repeal bill online for transparency, which is funny on two counts. one, saving money? one of mr. boehner's new house rules specifically requires every new bill to pay for itself without raising taxes with one exception -- repealing health care which if repeal passed would cost $140 billion. and, two, transparency? another new boehner rule. no spending can exceed the limit that one guy, budget chairman paul ryan, will get to decide.
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no hearing. no debate. no vote. that makes chairman ryan a czar. which by the way violates yet another of boehner's new rules. all their new laws have to explain their basis in the constitution. the house budget chairman czar is not mentioned in the constitution. of course that new republican rule is also funny and also bull spit. standing house rule 13-d-1 adopted at least as far back as 1999 says all committee reports on bills must cite, quote, the specific powers granted to congress in the constitution to enact the law. on those notes, with me here tonight democratic congressman anthony weiner of new york who tried valiantly to explain to congresswoman bachmann the power she holds in her hands. congressman, good evening. >> thank you. >> i hope the swelling is down by now after that experience. leadership, bachmann aside, knows what is at stake here. their backers simply couldn't permit a default. do members of your party understand this is a bluff, has
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to be a bluff from the republican side? >> yeah, but, you know, part of it is that they have to realize they wanted to be in charge and they're in charge now. this is exactly what went down in 1995 after the republicans took over last time. they said we're going to have our way and shut down government. they are saying the same thing. what's interesting about michele bachmann and i know it's hard to listen to her without your hair falling out but she was saying, well it's the democrats' job to raise the debt limit. we want no part of it. she is circulating a letter urging her republican colleagues to vote no. they have to understand that they now have the obligation to put some of their campaign promises, however vapid they might be, put them into play. this is a serious thing. i believe that we as democrats, we should work with the republicans to try to do responsible things but i refuse to be the only party that's going to have fidelity to governance here and let michele bachmann and her ilk say all right. i'm going to keep voting no and bear no responsibility. >> but if all the republicans vote no on raising the debt
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limit then the debt limit does not get raised. >> exactly right. >> and the consequences are immediate and global. >> that's exactly right. they wanted to be in charge. >> right. >> they wanted to run the house. they wanted to get elected. well now they have the job that goes with it. i don't know how those things in google work but when you put in hypocrisy after these guys it should come up, you know, the republican congress because just about everything that they promise they're going to be undoing in their very first vote. you pointed out the rules they're going to be setting for the policy, going to have a new close rule that only one person sets the budget. they're also going to say that if we ever bust the budget on health care, we don't have to pay for that. it's the only thing we won't. and i hope that these republican guys that got elected who say, you know what? this is not about democrat or republican but about getting the ship back this order, they should all vote no because they are not going to be able to say they care about deficits after voting for these rules. >> about health care reform the republicans in the house say
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they will draw enough democratic support to pressure the senate to follow suit for a repeal. are house democrats actually going to support any part of repeal? >> there might be some, you know, i -- there's a little division within our caucus about this. i welcome this fight. we didn't do a great job messaging this thing the last time. >> true. >> we didn't do a good job drawing blood on is republicans. if they want to vote their very first vote to take away prescription drug money from senior citizens, to take away coverage for young americans 21 through 26, to take away coverage for people who have pre-existing conditions, this is the first thing they want to do. if they want that fight, bring it on, chicky. i think that is exactly the kind of debate we want to have but will they get a democrat i mean perhaps they will, i mean, there is, there is polling out there that shows this isn't very popular but all its constituent parts are very popular. >> the things that were just signed into law yesterday that the president made a note of seem to be really popular. >> exactly. >> about the whole issue, the budget balancing issue there is a new poll out, three very interesting numbers. 3% say that the best way to do
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this is cut social security. 4% say that the best way is to cut medicare. 61% say the best way is to raise taxes on the rich to balance the budget. with those somewhat lopsided numbers why are the republicans and to some degree the white house moving toward a solution, a remedy that is favored by essentially the margin of error in a poll? >> because the american people understand a couple things. one, they understand social security contributes zero to the deficit. >> right. >> it's actually a giant surplus with social security right now and is all about the future and quite frankly modest changes can help deal with that. they also understand the basic sense of fairness in this country. the whole notion of this being class warfare, it's not. it's just that who should bear the burden here and the middle class, struggling to have their incomes be flat over the last ten years, struggling more and more and every time they open the newspaper it seems like we're throwing the millionaires and billionaires they don't even want. i think most of the very well to do in this country if you have an honest conversation about the state we're in would probably say i don't need another
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$100,000 tax cut. that's where the american people as always are way ahead of the republican caucus. >> 40% of those rich people also said the best way to balance the budget is to do this. why does the white house seem to be listening to compromises on particularly social security? >> you know, i hope that they're right when they said that compromise they did at the end of last year that i opposed was the last time they're going to do one like that, that now they're going to start standing up more. i want to see the next two years. the republicans have done a very good job of saying what they're against. now let's see what they're for and make this -- there are some things i think we should compromise on. i want to try to reduce the deficit with my republicans colleagues but some things we should dig in and say these are about the values of our country and whether fairness for the middle class is a basic, democratic value and we should stick to it. >> congressman anthony weiner, democrat, new york, always a pleasure to see you. let's bring in msnbc contributor ezra klein staff reporter for "the washington post" and columnist for "newsweek" magazine. good evening good evening, keith. >> mr. boehner's big priorities to cut spending says make
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government smaller. that'll stimulate the economy. how will that work exactly? >> they won't particularly. you have to be very careful. there are two things that boehner is conflating here, one is cutting spending and the other cutting the deficit. there is a very good theory over the long run and we need to cut the long-term deficit as representative weiner pointed out and it will help the economy. we can't forever have a gigantic government deficit but cutting spending alone doesn't do it if for every dollar in spending you cut you cut $2 in taxes. the new rules the house gop is passing this week essentially allow for that. do a $700 billion tax cut and you don't have to pay a dollar for it and cut some spending and you're considered fiscally responsible. that won't work. if you cut spending and you increase the deficit by much more than you cut spending that makes the economy worse even under the economic period he is implicitly referencing there. >> does mr. boehner or mr. mcconnell in the senate for that matter have a problem on his or their hands explaining to the
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new kids on the block here relative to the u.s. default on its obligations that you really can't make that happen? i mean, fan thatand if that is does the tea party have to face reality or consequences? >> it won't be the easiest thing in the world. i'm not sure who blinks at the last minute. boehner has all these people behind him like representative bachmann and he can say, listen, it's not me. i sort of know we got to do this but these folks behind me will do it. and will the white house at that point say, fine, let's see if he'll do it? if they don't, boehner and bachmann and this group are going to come back with a list of demands a mile long and say you're going to cut spending back to '08 levels which would be terrible for the economy right now. you're going to repeal these parts of the health care bill, give us ten other things we want. when the president talked about hostage taking in his press conference over the tax deal he was talking there, the hostage they could have shot was a small raise in taxes. when the hostage is the full faith and credit of the american
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government, is the president and white house going to be any more willing to risk it? if they're not the question is not whether or not boehner has anything to explain to his party but whether or not the white house is going to be able to resist the sort of leverage he is going to be bringing to bear. >> or let everybody wear a barrel with the little suspenders over the shoulders like in the cartoons from the '30s. there is something else that may pertain to this and may just be a coincidence but the report from nbc and others tonight that bloomberg news originally reported that the president is considering making the former clinton commerce secretary bill daley the next white house chief of staff. does that relate, is it complicated by the fact that he is now an executive at jp morgan chase? >> i don't know bill daley very well. he has a very good reputation. if the white house believes he is the best guy for the job they've looked at a number of candidates and they believe he brings something that is completely irreplaceable. i to some degree respect them
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deciding a two-day news cycle isn't the way to choose your new chief of staff. there are news cycles and the name daley rightly or wrongly is forever associated with chicago politics which isn't always the world's most popular local politics. again, it is a bit of an odd choice if they actually go in that direction but i read that report. as of yet i have not seen such strong sourcing behind it that i'm going to put a ton of weight behind it. >> ezra klein of "the washington post" great thanks. >> thank you. >> darrell issa wants to investigate why it's been two years without president obama being investigated. our investigation into his plans for investigations into the investigations, next. ♪ ooh, ah la, la, la ♪ ♪ ooh, ah la, la, la ♪ ♪ ooh, ah la, la, la ♪ ♪ [ dance beat ] [ male announcer ] join we don't just post the $100k+ jobs.
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we never did have those investigations into the phony war in iraq or torture but this incoming house oversight chair wants some into the way the government blamed wall street and not poor people for the collapse of the economy. this is the incoming house energy chair, the one who believed in climate change until he became the incoming house
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energy chair and his flip flop duplicated by palin, huckabee, and gingrich. worsts? more bad news for this former new york jets quarterback. massage therapists. three massage therapists. two of whom have sued him for alleged, you know. and the clinical study proves this is your brain. this is your brain on conservative. any questions? ç
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diabetes testing? it's all the same. nothing changes. then try this. freestyle lite® blood glucose test strip. sure, but it's not gonna-- [beep] wow. yep, that's the patented freestyle zipwik™ design. did it just-- [both] target the blood? yeah, drew it right in. the test starts fast. you need just a third the blood of one touch.® that is different. so freestyle lite test strips make testing... easy? easy. great. call or click-- we'll send you strips and a meter, free. free is good. freestyle lite test strips. call or click today. even before the people spoke and repudiated the republicans in 2008 then candidate barack obama hinted that he was not in favor of congress investigating those little irregularities of the bush administration.
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you know, lying us into war, malfeasance before 9/11, katrina rendition, torture, stuff like that. however, in our fourth story even before the people spoke and repudiated the democrats in 2010, then oversight chairman in waiting darrell issa bellow heed he was in favor of investigating the obama administration, how the administration blamed the financial meltdown on wall street and not fannie mae, barney frank, poor people, stuff like that. the ice man's hit list has been linked to politico and features some of the worst crimes and misdemeanors to afflict this nation in nearly two years! congressman issa claims his house oversight and government reform kplitee will focus primarily on government waste but that didn't stop him from going after one of the gop's favorite phony targets the so-called new black panthers. both of them. issa said that the incoming judiciary chairman congressman lamar smith would investigate the new black panthers, both
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guys, as a civil rights issue. four different house committees will oversee the justice department and congressman issa's committee plans to investigate wikileaks and then wikipedia. made the last part up with issa saying attorney general eric holder has failed to take sufficient action about wikileaks. >> well, i think he needs to realize that, for example, wikileaks if the president says i can't deal with this guy as a terrorist, then he has to be able to deal with him as a criminal. otherwise the world is laughing at this paper tiger we've become. so he's hurting this administration. if you're hurting the administration either stop hurting the administration or leave. >> does that apply to mr. issa? as to what he wants us to believe will be his committee's prime focus even that amounts to an indictment of the past two years of administration policy though it is couched in the softening of a remark he made last year that mr. obama, quote, has been one of the most corrupt presidents in modern times.
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>> in saying that this is one of the most corrupt administrations, which is what i meant to say there, when you hand out a trillion dollars in t.a.r.p. just before this president came in, most of it unspent, a trillion dollars nearly in stimulus that this president asked for, plus this huge expansion in health care and government, it has a corrupting effect. when i look at waste, fraud, and abuse in the bureaucracy and in the government, this is like steroids to pump up the muscles of waste. >> mr. issa also wants to investigate fannie mae and freddie mac according to politico and why the financial crisis inquiry commission could not agree on the causes of the market meltdown and if that sounds like issa might be trying to re-assign blame for the great recession there is also this. one of his subcommittees will investigate how government regulation hinders job creation. let's bring in the washington bureau chief of "mother jones" and good evening. >> good evening, keith. >> as a prime example explain how under this chairman issa an
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investigation of fannie mae and freddie mac and their role in the foreclosure crisis, what that really means. >> i think i have it. it's kind of like inspector cluseau coming on to a crime scene say a big crime scene and caring only about the guy who drove the getaway car. not who did it. not what happened to the money. not how to get the money back. i mean, this is a buga boo of the republicans for years now that fannie mae and freddie mac, you know, because they were committed to making loans or buying mortgages to help poor people get homes, that they raised up the whole crisis. anybody who has looked at the facts and details knows the time sub primes were taking off fannie mae and freddie mac were prohibited from buying up those sub prime mortgages and they did catch up later on but only after our friends at goldman sachs, bear stearns, lehman brothers had gone to the races. so there is really no there there.
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>> following the rhetorical question do you have a license for that car he wants to make it look like poor people caused the economic crisis not wall street or the banks? >> exactly. this is what the republicans tried to do in the financial crisis inquiry commission. in fact, they put out their own report, minority report in which they didn't use the word "wall street." or "shadow banking" or "credit default swaps." this is what the republicans are going to try to do after the fact to water down financial regulatory reform. they're going to blame it on poor people. >> hum. when he was told that the obama administration is hiring more lawyers to prepare for this onslaught of oversight hearings, the congressman said, quote, they're going to need more accountants. that sounds tame. is it tame or does it just sound tame? >> well, i don't know. my accountant sometimes charges a lot though i love her. but let's -- you just played that remark he made a couple weeks ago that barack obama is the most corrupt president of modern times or one of the most
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and then he said no, no. i meant to say his administration is one of the most corruption administrations. now he is saying just get a few more accountants. if you're going after al capone you don't tell him to get accountants. it seems to me he is really back peddling pretty fast on that front. >> so is he going to shoot lower? he going after eric holder as kind of a surrogate because in that larger frame he's got four committees with jurisdiction to oversee some part of justice. they've already attacked holder on gitmo, terror trials, the new black panthers, both of them, and now wikileaks for god's sake. we're going to investigate the leak of wikileaks not all the truths of wikileaks. is holder sort of the -- would he be a sufficient target for issa and his gang? >> well, i think this shows that the republicans are savvy enough to read the polls. they know that barack obama, his approval rating is twice high as anyone in congress and he is still more popular and is considered honest and likeable by a majority of americans even
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if they don't like all his policies. so darrell issa was to shoot at him it would actually reflect poorly on darrell issa and the rest of the republicans so therefore he will try to pick off surrogates like eric holder or other subjects and say this isn't really about barack obama. but it will be designed to undermine the obama administration. when this happened back in the '90s when bill clinton was president, and what was his name, representative burton, dan burton, you know, i think over a thousand subpoena requests to the white house. it really pinned them down in what they could do. even the daily course of business. so i think the goal here is to do that to the obama white house and, you know, i'd like to see darrell issa investigate some things honestly. i mean, fannie mae and freddie mac made a lot of mistakes and they deserve an investigation but not as the cause. there is a lot of good that he could do if he is serious about this and not just being political. >> well, we already know the answer to that question. >> i'm an optimist, keith.
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what can i tell you? >> we'll prove why later on in the program. david corn the columnist for "politics daily" and of course "mother jones." great thanks. >> thanks, keith. how about an investigation into this? at their debate today the candidates for chairman of the republican national committee were asked what is your favorite book? three answered with the names of books. one answered with a piece of furniture. uh-oh. of thee i sing; ohhhhh, land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrims' pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring! ♪ sleep is here, on the wings of lunesta. and if you wake up often in the middle of the night...
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funny how newt gingrich and mike huckabee and sister sarah
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all believed in climate change until the temperature started going up for the 2012 republican nomination. that's next. first the tweet of the day. it's from on deck lou. you have to comment on this. thoughts please. oh, boy. that's not good. well, two things. one i hope that's henna or pencil or something. two, it really clashes with those shoes. let's play "oddball." we begin in spain. proof that people will do anything for free stuff. a clothing store in madrid dared customers to come to the store dressed only in their skivvies. the first hundred to come through the door in only their unmentionables would receive a free pair of pants and shirt. over 200 people braved the winter weather, some even camped out overnight to try and get the free garments. to get free clothing some would see that as a brief wait. ha ha. we travel over to qatar where the two best players in the world have really taken their
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identity as the saviors of tennis to a new level walking on the water. rafael nidal faced off against roger federer in an exhibition match while floating on the gulf sea. nothing but tennis shots. the buoyant battle all part of a promotional tour for the qatar atp open. the two seemed to get along swimmingly as they lightly rallied back and forth though play needed to be stopped every now and then to retrieve the ball boys who couldn't swim. dateline manassas, virginia where we see a stickup in progress. this theodore roosevelt follower comes at the cashier and threatens to beat him. the clerk grabs a hammer and prepares for battle. we stand in armageddon and battle for the lord. after a brief stand off the thief jumps over the counter and presses the robber down. the sticky bandit grabs the money from the open register and escapes. the crook is still on the run so any parties with a large pinata need to be on the lookout. time marches on.
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the regulation of greenhouse gases to fight back against climate change has begun as have the walkbacks of all key republicans who have even ever hinted that there is climate change. well, naturally. the owners of those key republicans, the oil cartel, can't have any of that.
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tlae new year, new epa greenhouse gas regulations which means in our third story a whole new set of talking points for republicans including presidential hopefuls trying to erase any trace of their having believed in climate change. under new epa standards power plants and refineries are expected to put in technologies to curb the greenhouse gas emissions. the soon to be chair of the committee fred upton says blocking the new standards will be one of his priorities. writing in a "wall street journal" editorial this presumes carbon is in need of regulation. we are not convinced.
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quote, climate change is a serious problem that necessitates serious solutions. everything must be put on the table. many republican 2012 wanna-bes seem to be taking a page out of his playbook like tim pawlenty who signed his state on to a regional cap and trade program. he remarked i support a reasonable cap and trade system and i think it would be good for the federal government to take that up. here is tim pawlenty just last year. >> cap and trade i think would be a disaster. >> then there's the consistently inconsistent mike huckabee. just last week he denied supporting cap and trade during the 2007 republican primaries. perhaps blacking out on the fact that he declared that support on camera. >> climate change is here. it's real. i support cap and trade of carbon emissions, and i was disappointed that the senate rejected it. >> and just how will former house speaker gingrich explain this statement on this couch in
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front of that capitol with the only nancy pelosi? >> we do agree our country must take action to address climate change. >> together we can do this. >> nod and smile. nod and smile. then there is sister sarah. as one-half of the republican presidential ticket in 2008 she offered this. climate change just might be man ma made. >> i believe that man's activities certainly can be contributing to the issue of global warming, climate change. i am attributing some of man's activities to potentially causing some of the changes in the climate right now. >> now, free from the constraints of facts the half governor has changed her tune. >> we should create a competitive climate for investment and renewables. none this of snake oil science stuff that is based on this global warming goregate stuff. >> that woman is an idiot. time now to call in the environmental reporter for
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"mother jones" magazine. kate, thanks for your time tonight. >> thanks for having me, keith. >> you wrote about soon-to-be chairman upton's plans to block the greenhouse gas emission regulations. what is he going to try to do and is he going to be successful? >> what representative upton has said he might do is use the congressional review act, which is an obscure legislative maneuver. it was actually engineered by newt gingrich back in 1996 and it allows congress to overturn regulations from the executive branch and basically says congress can say we don't like that regulation. kick it back to the drawing board. we want a do over. it would block it from going into effect and so upton said he wants to do this on greenhouse gas regulations which have started phasing in just this week. it's a pretty dangerous maneuver actually because unlike a lot of things especially in the senate it doesn't require -- it only requires a simple majority so it's actually fairly easy to pass, so it could actually go somewhere if upton is serious about it and he can definitely
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get it passed in the house which obviously now is in republican control. >> there were, last summer, six senate democrats who voted to block the epa finding that greenhouse gases are indeed bad for human health, that essentially a vote against the scientific consensus because as we know politicians know much more than scientists possibly could on this. why is there, in your opinion, this sort of sudden effort on both sides of the aisle to suppress the progress on climate change? is it -- do they in fact know more science than the scientists? >> absolutely, keith. i think this is why this is so dangerous. it is congress saying we know more than scientists. we can tell them that we don't think that these regulations are necessary. i think what we're seeing here is two things. there are obviously i think a lot of legislators have cowtowed to coal, oil, gas interests. they're afraid of upsetting them. but i think a lot of them also really have seccumbed to this fear mongering we've seen on this issue over the years when
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the house passed climate legislation back in 2009 we heard all of this rhetoric about cap and tax and how this is going to destroy the economy and frankly a lot of folks including democrats ran scared from the issue including folks who used to care about it like fred upton. >> and these complete flip-flops by palin, huckabee, gingrich, pawlenty, i mean, you know enough about the energy companies. are these would-be republican presidents dinosaurs ignoring asteroids? are they courting voters? are they just to use that same term wchkowtowing to the oil industry that owns them all? >> i think a little bit of both. i think there are those who really guide the policy here in the u.s. and kept us to the status quo for a long time but in large part it is trying to do what they think is politically popular at that point. you saw newt gingrich sitting on the couch with nancy pelosi not all that long ago talking about how climate change as problem we should all come together and
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address and a few months later gingrich was out there leading the drill here and drill now call which then became the drill baby drill call we heard a few summers ago when gas prices were high. i think they're doing what they think is politically popular and what they think the public wants to see which i think, unfortunately, on this is really just kind of a crass political population and really isn't in the long-term interest that a lot of people know we need to address. >> pay no attention to the streaking asteroids going through the sky. kate sheppard of "mother jones" as always thank you, kate. >> thank you. why are these republicans laughing at one of the three candidates seeking to unseat rnc chairman michael steele? because she said something really stupid. there's now clinical evidence suggesting why some conservatives can only say a noun, verb, and 9/11 and why other conservatives can only hear a noun, a verb, and 9/11. and at the top of the hour on "the rachel maddow show" why republicans are bluffing on the debt ceiling threat.but on thin ice with my cholesterol. anyone with high cholesterol
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a quick quiz for the
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chairman of the republican national committee as he seeks re-election. the quote, it was the best of times. it was the worst of times. that comes from which literary classic? the answer? not the one you think, buddy. and how this prominent actor may have just explained what's going on in conservatives' brains. if anything. arthritis pain... and a choice. take tylenol now, and maybe up to 8 in a day. or...choose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. enjoy the flight. you get nothing for driving safely. truth: at allstate, you get a check in the mail twice a year, every year you don't have an accident. the safe driving bonus check. dollar for dollar, nobody protects you like allstate.
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so how is your amigdula feeling? are your anterior singulets a little stuffy?
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they may determine if you are conservative or liberal and have something to do with john dean and colin firth. the bronze is a tie. rnc chairman michael steele and one of the people trying to take that job from him the former ambassador to luxembourg ann wagner. at the debate for candidates today each was asked his or her favorite book. one guy said reagan diaries, one woman said to kill a mockingbird. mr. steele replied war and peace. then recited it was the best of times. it was the worst of times. yeah. that's from a tale of two cities by dickens. war and peace was by tolstoy. not even the same damn country. worst yet asked her favorite book ms. wagner replied probably my kitchen table. no more calls. we have a winner. the silver, brett favre the apparently retired quarterback of the minnesota vikings having been just kind of cleared by the nfl for alleged sexting with a former new york jets employee is
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in trouble again sued according to the "new york daily news" tonight by two massage therapists who worked with the new york jets who say they got salacious texts from favre. bret here, kind of lonely tonight. i guess i have bad intentions. worst still they say a jets employee warned them last october to keep their mouth shut or they'd never work for the team again and they are not going to work for the team again. as the newspaper suggested for mr. favre this is not a happy ending. the gold, a tie, chris christy of new jersey or maybe bloomberg of new york city for their pathetic performances during the storm you may have heard about last week. mr. bloomberg said everybody did a great job including himself and the city was back to normal even though a ten block section was not plowed and had ten abandoned city buses on it. mr. christy reiterated today he was perfectly justified in going on vacation to disney world during the inundation and his
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priority was his family and not the citizens of his state. clearly he does not understand the premise of being a governor and should resign. mayor bloomberg and governor christy political piles of dirty snow if ever there were any today's worst persons in the world. 3q what's up ? ugh. my feet are killin' me.
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never mind the king's speech. what about congressman peter king's brain? in our number one story the impeccable british actor colin firth, proud to say a "countdown" viewer as well was asked by the bbc to program one of its radio news shows so he asked a bbc reporter to determine what physically makes conservatives and liberals think
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the way they do. the results seemed to provide physical evidence for all of the behavioral studies john dean wrote about in his 2006 book "conservatives without conscience" and john joins me presently. last week mr. firth the eminently socially conscious star of "the king's speech" was given editorial control of bbc's radio news show "the today program" different than ours. and he assigned what he originally deemed a frivolous exercise to a bbc reporter. >> icided to find out what was biologically wrong with people who don't agree with me and see what scientists had to say about it and they actually came up with something. >> the bbc in fact used the university college london's institute of cognitive neuro science to perform brain scans on two british mps one from labor steven pound and one from the conservative party alan duncan. scientists matched the politicians' results with the brain scans of liberal and conservative college students previously subjected to mris. what was discovered has been
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deemed significant and very surprising. according to the study brains of self-described conservatives generally have larger right amygdala a primitive lobe in the brain associated with emotions and processing fear. brains of liberals have larger anterior simulates described as quote an area at the front of the brain associated with courage and looking on the bright side of life. that's right. my anterior cingulates are huge. quoting the professor, there is something about political attitude that is encoded in our brain structure through our experience or that there is something in our brain structure that determines or results political attitude. this is a british study. what about american conservatives? do they also have bigger fear processing centers? as you watch the following clip and i understand this is not completely scientific see if you can spot any enlarged amygdala. >> i feel radical you muslims
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who want to control the middle east and ultimately the world would love to see "in god we trust" stricken from our money. >> i worry a lot that they're using the current set of economic difficulties to try to justify massive expansion in the government. >> i and my staff i think spend most of our time afraid. >> i think people should be afraid. >> actually use the phrase "i fear for our democracy." >> i fear for our democracy. >> the reason why gold broke all-time highs? fear. >> rudolph guiliani, there's only three things he mentioned in a sentence. a noun, a verb, and 9/11. there is nothing else. >> joining us now a man whose amygdala is not showing john dean former white house counsel and author of the 2006 book "conservatives without conscience." john, good evening. >> good evening, keith. >> this sounds like a video version, an mri version if you will, of conservatives without conscience. does this little tiny accidental bbc inspired colin firth related
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study jive with tbe with the st wrote about? >> in some ways it does but not knowing an amygdala if one is sitting on my head and one is i thought i'd talk to somebody who knows something about this so i called the man whose work i drew on greatly when writing "conservatives without conscience" robert altmeyer who at the time was up at the university of manitoba and i drew his attention to this study to see his reaction. he said, you know, john, i have some troubles with this. he said, first the -- there are some real basic problems with the way the amygdala works. he described what i thought was important. it's the wiring in it and it doesn't really much depend upon the size but rather the way the wiring if you will fires and makes the system operate. the other thing is the sample is very small. >> right. >> and that's one of the problems. but we also know this isn't the end of the sample. and apparently those who have undertaken this study are going to keep browsing and take this
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further because it is kind of interesting. >> the researchers are, to some degree, admitting one of the points you just made. certainly they can't tell if the fear center that the right amydala is born that way or is shaped or damaged that way, particularly shaped. the behavioral studies that you quoted in the book, did they indicate whether people are born with some sort of predilection or are shaped into these sort of political or even cultural or just view of humanity polls liberal and conservative? >> well, there is some of both. it's both the nature and the nurture situation. one of the things altmeyer for example told me is he said in his testing of authoritarian children one of the things they report is that their parents taught them to be frightful. those parents we don't know if they were taught the same by their parents. this is one of the factors. in the testing i looked at and i looked at an awful lot of social
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studies and behavioral studies of great masses of people, in fact, one of the studies by an nyu professor john jost and his colleagues, they looked at 40 years of studies of the personalities of conservatives. it was some 22,000 participants. and they found, clearly, that fear is a part of the makeup of the personality of the conservative. this is part of the psychological makeup. this isn't necessarily a pathological judgment. it is just an analysis of the type of person we're dealing with. so i think it's a real factor and it's one that conservatives don't necessarily want to hear but it is what, the way they certainly test repeatedly and consistently. >> is it, i think one of the points of your book was that this is now conservative versus liberal but it wasn't essentially republicans and conservatives coopted a personality trait, that this is really a question of
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authoritarian personality versus nonauthoritarian personality. is that about the right synopsis? >> well, that's what i drew out of a lot of the social science and that was of course the theme of the book that the conservative without conscience is the most extreme of the authoritarian personality types where they could care less about any sort of human compassion or any kind of concern for their fellow man. they're fairly selfish, fairly self-centered, very domineering, they're the people who jump out in front and say, follow me, whether they really know what they're doing or not but they just want to be out there. so there are those personalities that have come to dominate the conservative movement and we're going to see them in washington starting this week. they're there. >> testing our apparent biological predilection towards optimism, which i am not believing at the


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